So, you probably clicked on the link when you saw the title….after all, who doesn’t love to eat? And eat more to reach your goals you say? Bring it on! Now, before you get TOO excited, let me just say there are boundaries for this based on the person, situation, and physical goals (which I will go into more here in a second). But, this information is still important to know because many people could be not reaching their desired goals (whether health, weight gain, weight loss, etc.) and eating could be playing a big role in that! Let me explain.
Many people think that to lose weight they need a calorie deficit. This is absolutely true. In order to lose weight, you have to consume less than you burn in a day. 1 pound is equal to 3500 calories: so every 3500 calories less you eat, you will lose 1 pound. To some extent. If you go too far below in calories, your body will go into starvation mode. For example, you read about people and their stories of eating 800-1000 calories a day in order to lose weight. At first, they’re dropping pounds left and right, but then they hit a plateau, a stopping weight where their weight just won’t budge (it may even increase again). This is because they have eaten so little, that their body has gone into starvation mode. You read that right: STARVATION mode. But, they’re not starving themselves you say. True, but their bodies don’t know that. Their bodies just realize that they aren’t getting enough food and fuel to survive so they start storing every bit they get because they don’t know when the next bite will come. This is an issue.
This is also where eating more comes into play. Health scientists say that for women, no one should ever dip below 1200 calories a day. But, if you’re active and trying to lose weight, you may need to eat more. Yes, more!!! If you’re an athlete or working out intensely, depending on your size and body composition, you may need 1800-2000 calories a day. Dropping intake down to 1200, a deficit of 600-800, is way too much of a decrease and not healthy for your body. Now, if your daily calories are only 1500, then 1200 could make sense. But, if you need more calories, well, you need more calories, even to gain weight (as long as you’re still in a deficit, you’ll lose weight). Again, it will depend on the person. **It’s also important to consult a doctor or health professional to make sure you are doing things correctly and in a healthy way.**
On the other side of the spectrum (where I currently am), in order to gain weight you need to eat more. Some of you may be thinking well, duh! And it seems obvious in theory, but putting it into practice gets more difficult. People who want to gain weight (especially in lean muscle) need to eat a lot more calories than they burn, yet that can be hard when you are afraid of gaining weight and/or getting fat. This is also where someone like my sports nutritionist can come into play–she is helping me figure out how much to eat to gain lean muscle without gaining too much fat (other than what is necessary to get my back to normal). Although it is hard, it is important to remember that in order to build muscle, you have to feed that muscle that you are breaking down by lifting and exercising. So while you may need to eat more to lose weight, you DEFINITELY need to eat MORE to gain muscle. While it may be scary at first (trust me, I am right there with ya), it will be worth it when you get those gains (
So, there you have it! People on both side of the weight spectrum with different goals may need the same thing: to eat more! Every person is different therefore, their body composition is also different, so it can be difficult to standardize things. However, this knowledge is important to keep in mind if you are struggling to reach your goals (either losing or gaining weight). Just make sure that while you are out there being awesome and motivated towards your aspirations, that you are doing so in a healthy way and taking care of yourself. Results will come if you are taking the necessary, appropriate, and healthy measures to do so!!
What are your thoughts on this topic? I would love to hear your comments, questions, and/or stories below or by emailing me!!